The Washington Post

Brennan’s Caribbean Milk Punch

Brennan’s Caribbean Milk Punch 1.000

Deb Lindsey for The Washington Post

Spirits Dec 20, 2017

This indulgent and simple milk punch is of a style that dates to the early days of cocktailing; a version appears in Jerry Thomas’s 19th century book. Brennan’s, the luxurious restaurant in New Orleans, serves it as a brunch drink — a great idea when you don’t need to do much for the rest of the day. But it’s a nice option for after dinner as well — served in place of dessert.

Make Ahead: The vanilla simple syrup can be refrigerated for up to 3 weeks.

Where to Buy: The vanilla simple syrup uses a scraped vanilla bean or vanilla bean paste. Many grocers carry whole vanilla beans, but spice stores such as Bazaar Spices and Penzeys may be a more reliable source for fresh whole beans (or vanilla bean paste).


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 1 servings

  • Ice
  • 1 ounce dark rum, such as Smith and Cross
  • 1/2 ounce bourbon
  • 1 ounce vanilla simple syrup (see NOTE)
  • 1 ounce heavy cream
  • Whole nutmeg, for a grated garnish


Chill a cocktail coupe. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice, then add the rum, bourbon, vanilla simple syrup and cream. Seal and shake vigorously for 10 seconds, then strain into the glass. Grate a little nutmeg over the top of the drink and serve.

NOTE: To make the vanilla syrup, combine 2 cups of sugar and 2 cups of water in a saucepan over low heat. Split one vanilla bean open with a knife, then use the knife to scrape the seeds directly into the pan (may substitute 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste; see headnote). Increase the heat to medium-high, stirring to make sure the sugar has dissolved and the vanilla bean is distributed. Once the mixture begins to boil, reduce the heat to low and cook for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat. Cool completely before using or storing (in an airtight container in the refrigerator, for up to 3 weeks). The yield is about 2 1/2 cups.

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Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe at Brennan’s restaurant in New Orleans.

Tested by M. Carrie Allan.

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Nutritional Facts

Calories per serving: 270

% Daily Values*

Total Fat: 11g 17%

Saturated Fat: 7g 35%

Cholesterol: 40mg 13%

Sodium: 10mg 0%

Total Carbohydrates: 19g 6%

Dietary Fiber: 0g 0%

Sugar: 18g

Protein: 0g

*Percent Daily Value based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

Total Fat: Less than 65g

Saturated Fat: Less than 20g

Cholesterol: Less than 300mg

Sodium: Less than 2,400mg

Total Carbohydrates: 300g

Dietary Fiber: 25g

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